If you’re a landlord of New York apartments for rent, there may come a time when you need to evict a tenant who refuses to leave. This isn’t simple, as there are laws and a process to follow. Learn what the experts say about the process you should follow when you need to evict a tenant.

Lawful Eviction In New York State

According to New York State Department of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR), an eviction is lawful only if a property owner has brought a court proceeding and has obtained a judgment of possession from the court. The court-ordered eviction must then be carried out by a sheriff, marshal, or constable.

DHCR further clarified that owners may not use force or unlawful means to evict a tenant from a New York apartment for rent.

Grounds For Eviction

According to DHCR, a landlord must have grounds for eviction when seeking to evict a tenant from a Manhattan apartment for rent. The property owner may proceed directly to court after serving the proper notices to the tenant if the tenant fails to pay rent, is damaging the apartment or building, causing a nuisance, or committing other wrongful acts.

There are some special grounds, such as the property owner seeking to demolish the building, where the owner must first obtain DHCR’s approval before proceeding to court.

Non-payment of rent: According to DHCR, you don’t need DHCR approval before initiating court proceedings, and you don’t need to serve the tenant with a termination notice within a specified time frame if you want to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent. Please note that, as of January 16, 2022, the Moratorium on Covid-related Residential and Commercial Evictions has expired.

Other grounds that do not require DHCR approval: DHCR offered a few examples of other grounds identified by rent regulations for which you can initiate eviction proceedings without first obtaining the approval of DHCR. However, these other grounds usually do require that you first serve the tenant with a termination notice within a specified time frame. 

Those examples include failing to cure a violation of a substantial obligation of the tenancy, refusing the owner to make needed repairs, and damaging the property. Seek clarification from DHCR if the tenant refuses to give you access for something like annual inspecting that needs carrying out in apartments for rent in New York City. A couple of other grounds for discontinuing a tenancy or refusing to renew a lease include occupancy by the owner or an immediate family member of the owner, and the tenant not using the New York Apartment for rent as their primary residence.

The Eviction Case Process

According to Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc., an eviction case (AKA a Summary Proceeding) begins when the landlord has another party serve the tenant with a Notice of Petition and a Petition. The notice includes the time, date, and place of the court hearing, while the petition includes the reason(s) why you want to evict the tenant from the Manhattan apartment for rent. Both papers must be served at least 10 days before the court date, which cannot be more than 17 days after the papers were served.

If the judge agrees with you and you win the case, the judge will issue a Warrant of Eviction, which gives the tenant between 14 and 90 days to move, depending on the grounds for eviction. If the tenant doesn’t move within that time, the officer can return to enforce the warrant on a business day, provided they notified the tenant of the time and date on which this will happen.

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